Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ecclestone, William

ECCLESTONE or EGGLESTONE, WILLIAM (fl. 1605–1623), actor, seems to have been born in Southwark, where his father, also William Ecclestone, resided. He joined the famous king's company of actors associated with the Blackfriars and Globe theatres after 1605, and performed in Jonson's ‘Alchemist’ in 1610 and in the same writer's ‘Catiline’ in 1611. About August 1611 Ecclestone withdrew from the Blackfriars and Globe company and joined a new association of twelve actors formed by Henslowe under Prince Henry's patronage to act at the Fortune Theatre. In 1613 the new company quarrelled with Henslowe, and Ecclestone reappeared with his former associates in Beaumont and Fletcher's ‘Honest Man's Fortune.’ Ecclestone was still a member of the king's company in 1619, but he had retired before 1625. His name occurs as an actor in Beaumont and Fletcher's ‘Bonduca’ (1615–16), ‘Loyal Subject’ (1618), ‘Mad Lover’ (1618), ‘Humorous Lieutenant’ (1618), ‘Island Princess’ (1619?), ‘Women Pleased’ (1619?), ‘Little French Lawyer’ (1620–1), ‘Customs of the Country’ (1621?), ‘Laws of Candy’ (1622), ‘Sea Voyage’ (1622), and ‘Spanish Coast’ (1622). He married Anne Jacob at St. Saviour's Church, Southwark, 20 Feb. 1602–3. He was alive in 1623, when a fellow-actor, Nicholas Tooley, released him of a debt.

[Collier's Lives of the Actors, pp. 241, 245–8; F. G. Fleay's Actor Lists, 1578–1644, in Royal Hist. Soc. Transactions, ix. 44 et seq.; Collier's Hist. of English Dramatic Poetry; G. F. Warner's Cat. of Dulwich MSS.; Alleyn Papers, ed. Collier (Shakespeare Soc.)]

S. L. L.